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In Song dynasty China, the Imperial Examinations were held to determine who would become the new government leaders to replace the older hereditary system of power. According to several sources, any Chinese man of good standing could take the test. How did the education prior to taking the examination take place? In addition, did members of lower classes actually have an opportunity to receive an education to prevent the rich from maintaining their high social standing?

I have looked into this problem on several sites before, (e.g. Wikipedia:ImperialExams) but I could not find any good information on it other than a basic format of the exam. How would test takers get their education to take the test and how did government officials ensure that it was fair for the poor? How early would they begin studying for the test? How early would education typically begin? Would they study at a physical school/university or at home with a tutor?

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  • Welcome to History:Stack Exchange. Thank you for your question; please consider revising it to be more in line with our community expectations. Like many other stacks, we expect questions to provide evidence of prior research. That helps us to understand the question, and avoids our repeating work you've already done. Our help center, and other stacks provide additional resources to assist with revisions. – MCW Feb 22 at 23:04
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    how did government officials ensure that it was fair for the poor? They didn't. – Semaphore Feb 24 at 7:35
  • What is wrong with the information in Wikipedia? "Wealthy families, especially from the merchant class, could opt into the system by educating their sons or purchasing degrees." – MCW Feb 24 at 12:22
  • @MarkC.Wallace How early would education typically begin? Would they study at a physical school/university or at home with a tutor? – Galactic Feb 24 at 18:34
  • @Galactic - I've moved the comment into the question; I've noticed that questions where you have to read the comments get fewer answers, lower quality answers, etc. Strong questions explicitly address what is missing from Wikipedia in the question. Hope it helps. – MCW Feb 24 at 18:51

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